Timothy Jay | Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, USA
This paper addresses problems with swearing on the internet. The opening section of the paper defines swearing (uttering offensive emotional speech) as a ubiquitous form of impolite human behavior. Swearing can occur wherever humans communicate with each other and that it appears in computer-mediated communication (CMC) is not surprising. The second section documents how swearwords appear in email, blogs, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube and in other practices and sites (trolling, 4chan). Swearword use is situated in the context of emerging research on impoliteness and moral order (politeness norms and standards that govern internet behavior). Online swearword use is a function of moral order, as well as users’ interpersonal characteristics such as age (younger more likely than older users), gender (men more likely than women), the time of day (later in the day and evening), and a website’s social composition (adversarial and male dominated more than homogeneous friendly sites). The paper concludes with suggestions for dealing with internet swearword use where regulation is desirable and feasible. Websites and communities should develop moral order norms that at a minimum restrict illegal forms of speech (e.g., credible threats of violence, workplace sexual harassment).
2016In Praise of Profanity. New York: Oxford University Press.
2014 “Historical Pragmatics: Evidence from the Old Bailey.” Transactions of the Philological Society 1121: 259–277.
Arndt, Horst, and Richard Janney
1985 “Politeness Revisited: Cross-modal Supportive Strategies.” International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 231: 281–300.
1995 “Polite Fictions: Instrumental Rudeness as Pragmatic Competence.” In Linguistics and the Education of Language Teachers: Ethnolinguistic, Psycholinguistic, and Sociolinguistic aspects. Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics, edited by James Alatis, Carolyn Straehle, Maggie Ronkin and Brent Gallenberger, 154–168. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
2016What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, Ourselves. New York: Basic Books.
Bou-Franch, Patricia, and Pilar Garces-Conejos Blitvich
2007 “Beginnings, Middles, and Ends: A Biopsy of the Dynamics of Impolite Exchanges.” Journal of Pragmatics 39 (12): 2185–2216.
Chretien, Katherine, S. Ryan Greysen, Jean-Paul Chretien, and Terry Kind
2009 “Online Posting of Unprofessional Content by Medical Students.” JAMA 3021: 1309–1315.
Clark, Herbert H.
1996Using Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
1996 “Towards an Anatomy of Impoliteness.” Journal of Pragmatics 23 (3): 349–367.
Culpeper, Jonathan, Derek Bousfield, and Anne Wichmann
2003 “Impoliteness Revisited: With Special Reference to Dynamic and Prosodic Aspects.” Journal of Pragmatics 351: 1545–1579.
Duehren, Andrew, C. Ramsey Fahs, and Daphne Thompson
2016 “Harvard Cancels Men’s Soccer Season after Finding Sexually Explicit “Reports” Continued Through 2016.” The Crimson, November4. Retrieved from: [URL]
2016 “Amherst College Suspends Men’s Cross Country Team Activities Over ‘Racist, Misogynist’ Emails.” Boston.Com, December12. Retrieved from: [URL].
Finn, Jerry, and Mary Banach
2000 “Victimization Online: The Downside of Seeking Human Services for Women on the Internet.” CyberPsychology and Behavior 31: 785–796.
2016 “The Price I’ve Paid for Opposing Donald Trump.” National Review, October21. Retrieved from: [URL].
Fullwood, Chris, Karen Melrose, Neil Morris, and Sarah Floyd
2012 “Sex, Blogs, and Baring Your Soul: Factors Influencing UK Blogging Strategies.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 641: 345–355.
Gauthier, Michael, Adrien Guille, Fabien Rico, and Anthony Deseille
2015, 2016 “Text Mining and Twitter to Analyze British Swearing Habits.” In Twitter for Research Handbook, edited by Clement Levallois, Morgane Marchand, Tiago Mata and Aandre Panisson, 27–43. Paris: Emlyon Press.
Gelfand, Michele, et al
2011 “Differences between Tight and Loose Cultures: A 33-Nation Study.” Science 3321: 1100–1104.
Graham, Jesse, and Jonathan Haidt
2010 “Beyond Beliefs: Religions Bind Individuals into Moral Communities.” Personal and Social Psychology Bulletin 14(1): 140–150.
2012The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. New York: Pantheon.
2010 “Trolling in Asynchronous Computer-Mediated Communication: From User Discussions to Academic Definitions.” Journal of Politeness Research 6(2): 215–242.
2021. Morality in Sociopragmatics. In The Cambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics, ► pp. 385 ff.
2022. “I say it but wouldn't be happy hearing it from a kid”: Personal boundary parameters in responding to taboo language, swearing and -IST-ing use. International Journal of Educational Research 111 ► pp. 101906 ff.
Downes, Lynn, Margaret Kettle, Peter O'Brien & Gordon Tait
2021. Responsibilisation and acceptable verbal behaviour in schools: Teachers and leaders arbitrating the boundaries of swearing. Linguistics and Education 61 ► pp. 100898 ff.
Dynel, Marta & Fabio I. M. Poppi
2020. Arcana imperii*. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict 8:1 ► pp. 57 ff.
2022. ПСИХОЛОГІЧНІ ОСОБЛИВОСТІ ЗАСТОСУВАННЯ НЕНОРМАТИВНОЇ ЛЕКСИКИ У МІЖОСОБИСНІСНІЙ КОМУНІКАЦІЇ. Psychological Prospects Journal :39
[no author supplied]
2021. Topics and Settings in Sociopragmatics. In The Cambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics, ► pp. 247 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 24 may 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
Any errors therein should be reported to them.